How we planned our 2 week independent tour of Thailand

Monday, February 28, 2011

Once you decide on a location for your vacation - its just a few steps to get your independent tour of the country set up!  As soon as you decide your destination - you'll want to make sure of the following before you make any plans:
  • Is it safe for US citizens to visit this destination?  check here.
  • Do you need a VISA?
  • Are you required to take medical precautions? (Typhoid shot, malaria pills, etc)  Are there concerns of an outbreak:  you check here.

Once you confirm/check the following; then you can beginning planning your independent tour!  Good luck!
A step by step guide:

1. Decide on a budget.

2. Detemine your travel dates
  a. Keep in mind the weather of your destination spot during your travel dates

Cost Saver:  Can you swing flying on a T/W/R?  Airfares on these days are usually lower in cost than regular weekend flying (F/Sat/Sun)

Cost Saver:  Consider what is 'peak season' for your destination - costs will usually be higher for those travel times...take a look into what the weather is like when its NOT peak season...does rainy season mean it rains every afternoon for an hour - maybe you can hit the museums/temples during that hour?

3. Create a free account at
  a. I don't know anything about programming, but these peeps do.  All you do is FWD your confirmation emails from bookings (hotels/tours/transportation) and they'll upload into your itinerary
  b. So handy for printing/emailing itinerary copies to your parents/family so they'll know where you are while on the other side of the world

4. Create a free account at
  a. Like facebook and blogger had a baby and that baby loves him some traveling; get inside blogs/reviews from real people who have been to your travel destination
  b. I used travbuddy to help find hotels and get reviews in all of the different cities we'd be visiting
5. Book your flights

6. Draft up a calendar and map out where you want to be each day
  a. I do this on scrap paper and use a pencil because it gets changed a few times when you start getting into the details of planning
  b. Put in the times of your flight departures & arrivals so that you'll be clear as to how much of your travel day will be consumed by hanging at the airport vs. time to sightsee

7. Book some day trips - even though this is an independent tour, we wanted a little help with some guides and inside hot spots.
  a. I googled thailand itineraries and was connected with a Thailand travel agency in the UK.  I was lucky to get a very helpful rep who was super patient and walked me through all steps of the booking process
  b. Make sure you understand what the day trips include (meals?  Pick ups/drop offs?, etc)

8. Book your hotels
  a. Now that your day trips are planned, you can book your hotels based off of when and where you need to be to meet up with your day trip group
  b. Travbuddy was a lot of help for me
  c. Google currency converter to calculate actual costs - many of the hotels have their cost listed in the local currency, so the converter will spit out the US $ cost immediately

Cost Saver:  Some non-chain, locally run hotels have breakfast, airport pick-up, access to the internet, or activities included in the cost.  Make sure you understand all that you can get with your booking.  Read as many human reviews as possible to get a better idea of the experience.

Cost Saver:  Are you willing to walk 5 minutes to the beach?  If so, you could save a pretty penny on forgoing a beach front hotel.

9. Keep fwding your confirmation emails to
  a. hooray for easiest itinerary creation ever!

10. Determine how you will travel within the country.
  a. What will be most cost effective?  vs. What is most time effective?
  b. You can usually google train and bus schedules if necessary
  c. Usually it is easiest to get your in-country travel taken care of when you get in-country (train, bus, cabs), but if you are renting a car - its probably best to book in advance.

11. Google "Must see things to do in _______ (city/country)"
  a. Write those spots down in your Notes section in Tripit
  b. Remember that since you're traveling independently - YOU get to museums/temples not your thing?  Check out other interesting things to do:  bazaars & markets, cooking classes, spa visits, etc

12. Google "Suggested Packing List for ______  (country) in _______ (month)"
  a. pack accordingly

SCF & girls weekend

Another February means another SCF weekend!  SCF stands for Sisters Come First and not only is it our motto, but its also tattooed on each of my sisters and I.  Even though we see each other multiple times a month, we have set aside a weekend in February where we are committed to spend the whole weekend together doing all those weird sister things that make us laugh.
Like making up pretend drinks and calling them the Ultra Top Secret SCF cocktail

And playing silly games that make me laugh so hard I almost choke.

After spending a hilarious and gab-infested night at Kayla's new apartment in Zeli; we headed up to ERie so my sisters could have some Booboo lovin.

And then we continued our sister entourage of debauchery to one of our favorite watering holes; Sandbar...where we were happily surprised to find that the best 80's cover band this side of the Mississippi was playing; the M-80s.  And so in full Adams girl fashion; we started a train on the dancefloor, made friends with some random local college kids, tricked the bartender into giving us free drinks, and had a pretend dance off with an alleged 80 year old woman we knicknamed Maw Maw.  Verdict:  Maw Maw may have won.

On Sunday, we got a visit from my Mom and Francesca for the long holiday weekend.  We all went out to lunch; poor Greyson was surrounded by 5 women while daddy was at work and then did a little shopping.  Kayla & Tash left for Lock Haven and then Frannie and I stayed up long into the night discussing life dreams and discovered that we're kindred spirits<3 heh. 

Tasha, Kayla, Tab, Booboo, & Frannie:  4 sisters and one spoiled little boy.  hehh
 My mom got in some serious Booboo time too, which made us all smile.

It was a great weekend of girl gab fest - which I usually don't my soul was very grateful.

February Kindness: Cookies for the Local Fireman

Friday, February 25, 2011

Our February kindness is one of my favorites because for starters it involves fireman...and what kind of grown woman would I be if I couldn't admit that I have serious crush on hunky men that wear uniforms (that doesn't exclude postal workers, UPS delivery men, police officers, or the army recruiter at the mall...I'm just sayin' that when my husband wore his toolbelt for the sunroom reno I wasn't complaining about the view).  Whoa, sorry for the digress...and then secondly, this month's kindness is super easy and requires little time or effort...but usually warrants big smiles.

So this year, I purchased the already ready-to-pop-in-the-oven cookies from the grocery store and whipped them up in an afternoon during Booboo's nap.  Then I wrote a little thank you note letting them know that we are grateful that they are brave and generous.  Later that day, we headed over to the local volunteer fire department to drop them off..

But then no one was at the fire station!  I did contemplate for about a half a minute calling 911... and saying It's not emergency, its just that I'm standing outside the fire house with my 10 month old who would probably get a kick out of the fire trucks and I have cookies for Valentines day...and I put mascara on just for the trip, ya know because of the could you tell someone to come over even though its not an emergency and even though they are volunteers and even though its a holiday...but I figured maybe that sounded a little crazy for a Monday afternoon.

So LIKE A TOTAL CREEP, I left the container of cookies & the thank you note on the Firehouse stoop.  Its still unclear as to whether the cookies were enjoyed by grateful firemen...or if they had to call in a SWAT team because a suspcious package was sitting at their door.  I haven't heard anything about the latter on our local news station, so I'm hopeful that the former was the case. 

The Piggy & The Baby

Thursday, February 24, 2011

kids are weird.  anyone who has kids, or ever watched kids, or has been a kid knows that kids are weird.  We have witnessed plenty of Grey's weirdness already in his 10 months as a human.  From happily munching on dog food (gross weird) to his love for pounding on things like they are drums (adorable weird).  But we have recently discovered the weirdest of Grey's weirdness:  The hilarity he finds in The Piggy & The Baby.

The piggy is a black/chalkboard style piggy bank that he got as a Christmas gift from his cousins Ariel and Gracie.  The baby is a little baby laying in angel wings he got for his baptism from his honorary grandma Becky Siwy.  They sit on a shelf in his bedroom near each other.  Grey does not think there is anything else on the Earth more funny than these two characters sitting next to each other.

A few weeks ago, when I went to get him from waking up from his nap - he was standing in his crib laughing to himself while staring towards the top of his bedroom door (where the shelf is).  At first, in all my ghosthunting loving fervor, I asked Grey, do you see angels, baby?  (Grey has very weird parents - thus explains part of his weirdness - but we have always joked about Grey's great grandparents who have passed hanging out in our house playfully teasing him as angels.  We like to say that when Grey goes all Paranormal Activity 2 on us and stares into the ceiling corners and laughs or talks  its because the angels are visiting). 

that face is perfect example of the creepy baby sees ghosts look

After a few more times catching him laughing in that direction, I got the idea to bring the pig down close to him...but it wasn't that funny to him anymore.  So then I brought just the baby down close to him...but that wasn't funny either.  So I left them side by side on the shelf together and he cracked up.  Which led me to start singing/chanting "the piggy and the baby, the piggy and the baby, the piggy and the baby and the piggy and the baby"  Which makes booboo laugh and dance.

So here we have arrived.  Everytime we walk into the room - booboo is creepily laughing and staring at the piggy & the baby.  Then I sing the piggy & the baby song and Greyson laughs more and dances.  And then everyone in the near vicinity has that tune stuck in their head for the rest of day.

Oh that piggy and the baby just crack us up!

Sun Room upgrade

After receiving a blog suggestion from my favorite soul -uplifting friend, Stephanie Morem - and then creepily stalking the entire blog...I persuaded Brandon to renovate our Sun Room.  For some serious blog loving and house updating inspiration - visit here. (but don't say I didn't warn took a total of about 15 minutes of looking at their blog until I woke Brandon up on a Saturday morning and said, I've got an idea, but we're going to have to go to Lowes, like get up...because I'm excited)

We were just not taking advantage of having such a great room - it was basically Bullet's bridge to the outside and other than that - we never used it.  This is what the sun room looked like...

If you can see it - Bullet chewed a hole in the drywall between the two sliding doors (far left bottom).  He's actually sniffing the hole in this pictures because he's a demon.

I'd also like to point out the teeny, skinny wood trim that is framing the brick walls (see first picture too).

We checked to see what was under the gross, boring, stained carpet - turned out there was concrete...So first, we pulled up the carpet and left it for the garbage man.

Then we pulled off all the trim.  Okay, Brandon did then he took the nails out (he's a great husband) and sent me to the garage to sand them.  Okay, not that great.  hah, just kidding.  After the trim was sanded, he painted them White Drop (which is white with a tiny splash of gray).

The Brandon went on a serious caulking frenzy.  He's really good with caulk.  He doesn't love caulking, but he's good at it.  I am not good at caulking.  I am also have very immature humor.Since we weren't going to be putting up the baby tiny wood trim on the brick - Bud caulked all the cracks (aaaaahhahhaha, i'm such a middle schooler) so that it would stop cold air from sneaking in and just look nice. 

Once the room was sufficiently caulked (okay, I'm done), we gave the room a fresh coat of paint (in the same color it was already painted).  No pictures of this stage since we were both elbow deep in paint supplies. 

Then, I got to seriously cleaning the floor because you should never, ever, ever paint a dirty floor.  I picked Western Brown (which is brown with a splash of red in it...I'm all about the splashes) for the floor based off what I thought would look good on a floor (brown) but would also bring out the specks of pink/red in the brick. 

When the floor dried, Bud put all the trim back up...not after purchasing a air compressing nail gun (which he's now obsessed with) and did a few touch ups.

Then we hung the curtain rods and curtains.

Then we accessorized with the same furniture but a new carpet.


The total renovation was cheap and mostly easy (granted, I do have a very handy husband).
  • Accessories:  Already owned/free!
  • Paint:  $40
  • Paint supplies (new roller & masking tape):  $13
  • Curtain rods:  $160
  • 4 curtains panels:  $20
  • Carpet:  $35
  • TOTAL Room Transformation:  $268

Re-arrange and Re-new

As part of our minimalism resolution, I've been going on serious room re-arranging madness of of recently.  This is not a new trait of mine, just ask Brandon's college roommates...his roommate Kevin is actually quoted in our wedding scrapbook as saying, "Tab was always coming to visit and re-arranging the living room furniture.  It was nice."  hahhha.  Its like an immediate and free facelift when you re-arrange furniture in a room and give it a new perspective.  And although re-arranging furniture does not, at first glance, seem like an act of minimalism...the act of re-arranging forced us to get rid of some through the hoop and under the was.  so there.

I started in our bedroom, I actually randomly started moving the night stands one Saturday morning and yelled into Brandon in the other room, honey, I'm doing something irrational right either come help me or talk me out of it.  He got a look at what I was doing and decided it was better to join in than fight me on it.  So we took apart our huge bed and dressers and played musical furniture all afternoon.  Since we were moving things all around, we couldn't just continue to turn a blind eye to all the dust that was icing the dressers...or all the papers and clutter covering the desk.  So we started throwing things out and putting stuff in junk piles. 

mid re-arrange...mess.
Booboo is in an adventure!
After 3 hours, we had a new, clean room with considerably less clutter. 

Then a few days later, I got another re-arrange itch and started on the baby's room.  Through the process of moving things around, I took stock of all the clothes that he has outgrown but still took up space in his room.  They've now been packed up in the storage room and are awaiting the next boy kid we might be lucky to get in the future.  Now he's got a lot more floor space to play around on and we were even able to move some toys that had been littering the living room back into his room.  Greyson gives it a thumbs up - he loves it now.

Previous arrangement:

woohoo!  floor playing space galore!

Leaving our baby

Half of our heart is singing,  WE ARE GOING TO THAILAND!!!
and the other half is whispering in sadness, we are leaving booboo for 2 weeks.

Since folks have heard of our upcoming trip we have received some variation of the following:
So exciting!!  Are you taking the Babe?

Which when translated usually means:
Holy Crap, that is awesome!  If you're taking the baby - I think you are insane.  If you're not taking the baby - I think you might be a negligent parent.

Either way you slice it - we look like crazy parents...taking your 11 month old to Thailand is insanity.  How would we pack for that?  How would we keep a baby entertained on a 13 hour flight?  (yea, I said 13 are we going to keep ourselves entertained?!)  But, leave your 11 month old while you vacation in Thailand is also insanity.  How are we going to justify probably missing his first steps (he's so close!!)?  How are we going to enjoy ourselves while missing his kisses and sweet face so much?

We would love to take him...but he's just not big enough.  Sure, we could do it - but probably wouldn't be fun for any of us.  We got a stamp in our then 6 month old child's passport before his 25 year old godfather even owned a passport...but we had four grandparents traveling with us too...which made the trip much easier.

And really if HE had to make the choice:
Option A:  fly on a plane for 13 hours with mum and dad and sleep without your crib and sound machine and be in super hot weather
Option B:  hang with grams & paps and be smothered in hugs and kisses, eat m&m's to your hearts content and have constant attention...

pretty sure he'd hands down pick option B.  So we've discussed that when our kids don't drink formula and are out of diapers...they'll get to travel with us...but for now - he's being shipped to the grandparents (who have already purchased every item on the suggested shopping list that I sent them.  spoiled.)

Are we afraid?  YES
we are afraid grey will miss us and cry the whole two weeks, God forbid, but we are afraid that making our last will and testament is not just a precaution, we are afraid that grey won't be able to sleep, we're afraid that he will need to go to the hospital for being sick or injured, we're afraid he will take his first steps without us being there, we're afraid he'll look like a grown ass man when we get back, we're afraid he'll get off his schedule and be unhappy, we're afraid we won't be able to get back to him for some reason, we're afraid he won't remember us

But even though we are afraid of all of those (and so many more) things...we want Greyson to learn (even if he's only 11 months old) that you should follow your dreams...even when you are afraid.  There is such a big world and so many things to see and do...but you'll never see it if you are too afraid.  We realize that the most influential role models our son will have is us.  And if we're trying to tell him to go out and do things, but we're never leaving his side because we're afraid to leave him...he'll never get it.

And its not just about a lesson for Greyson, because we will miss him every single moment - but we are still us in here. Despite the 11 month adjustment we have made in our life - our roles as Mom and Dad will not swallow us whole.  We know will be better at Mom and Dad if we don't forget that we were first Wife and Husband and even before that Tab and Brandon.

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Swimming in February

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We were invited to Splash Lagoon to celebrate Gregg's birthday.  No, Gregg is not a child, he's actually our Man-Child 27th birthday celebrating friend.  So we happily joined him for a full out big kid birthday party and enjoyed a day tucked away from snow outside in the ultra humid, happy water park in ERie.

happy birthday big boy!  hahha

As a lover of swimming, Grey had a blast.

Then he was very tired.

After a full day swimming and enjoying the heat - we headed over to Gregg & Cera's house to enjoy dinner and a few drinks.  Grey and Cooper (Gregg & Cera's son) got to have their first real play date together!

And then Greyson teased the heck out of her two labs because he thinks that every dog should want to play keep away like Bullet.

superbowl sunday 2011

After spending most of the weekend in Washpa for Brandon's alumni basketball event at W&J, we were looking for a relaxing superbowl evening when we got back...even if our beloved Steelers were playing.  So we made the 3 hours trek back to ERie and got ready to hang out with my friend Jess and her sweet daughter Samantha.  Each time the kids see each other, the playing gets more cute and more aware of each other. 

Despite our hollering & cheering AND  fully supporting the Steelers in our fan gear..they were beat out by the Packers.  I hardly even paid attention to the commericials with all the cute baby watching.

Sharing is the best.

Grey's first kiss!  Don't tell Samantha's Daddy!!
 Before the game, I made a quick stop over to visit the Pioneer Woman blog and grabbed her recipe for mushroom&swiss sliders and fried onion strings.  They were delicious and even Grey gobbled them down.  The secret to the amazing burgers is adding heavy idea ever?  YES.  thank you - yet again Pioneer Woman.

Enjoy your Valentines flowers longer!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Some girls turn their noses up at flowers, "they just die anyway," they cry.  I am NOT one of those girls.  I absolutely love fresh flowers in the house and for reasons uncomprehendable to me, my husband rarely brings me flowers - despite the fact that I tell him repeatedly that I love them, AND despite the fact that he manages a grocery store that sells discount prices.  I know, I love him - but goodness man.  No matter - when I do get them - I want to cherish them for as long as possible.  So here's a very easy tip I picked up from Real  Simple magazine...or Martha Stewart...or some other place where amazing ideas abound.

When you get your fresh flowers - snip off the bottoms at angle and leave in a tall vase in a very prominent place (say, dining room table or kitchen counter) and show off to any visitors.  As the days pass, make sure to get rid of anything that starts wilting early (like baby's breath or other filler).  Dead/brown flowers can make the whole bouquet look shabby.

These were NOT my flowers - but mine are equally beautiful:)
After a few days (usually its about 5 days for me), they'll start looking a little less vibrant but will usually have opened up quite a bit - so you'll have these big open flowers - that you know will be wilting in no time.  Take each stem and cut off about 2 inches - again at an angle.  You may have to trash a few flowers because they just didn't make it, but you should be left with a couple big, fully bloomed ones.  Then place them in a shorter vase or I like to use a short juice pitcher that we have.  These folks used a short bucket which is just as cute.  When I get to this stage, I usually set them up on the window sill behind my sink - they'll get tons of sun and they make me smile while I'm making coffee too early in the morning.

happiness in a bucket!
 So after a few more days (give or take 3), you'll start to notice that many of the flowers are starting to kick the bucket (hah, pun intended) and it might be time to say buhbye to your beautiful reminder of your adoring partner.  Alas - don't give up just yet!  There are always those 1-3 flowers that are the fighters and are clinging on to dear life.  Discard the deads (rest in peace) and clip the final couple flowers another time - again at an angle.  Leave about 2-3 inches of stem and grab a short juice glass.  Toss those babies in the cup  (or a tea cup like this one is equally adorable and kind of chic) and place it somewhere cozy.  Since its such a small arrangment - it will look a little pathetic in your original, prominent place.  I like to put my on my nightstand so that I see it first thing in the morning.  It should last another 2-3 days and look at you - You've squeezed a whole week and a half out of those flowers and they looked beautiful and new each day!

good morning:)

booboo goes to college!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We headed back to W&J the first weekend in February for the annual Alumni basketball day.  We didn't even think of it until we got there - but it was Booboo's first live sporting event experience.  While we were walking in, I was getting a little nervous to how Grey would react to all the buzzers and whistles and shouting.  Turns out - he really is his daddy's son.  That kid was mesmerized and watched the ball the entire time.  He absolutely loved the game and stayed awake as long as he could to just watch the players bouncing and shooting the ball.  Then he passed out in Mr. Koch's arms and slept right through all the buzzers.

W&J Alumni Daddy & Future W&J student (daddy hopes!)
  After the game, we made our way to our favorite Washpa spot - Solomon's for the alumni basketball reception.  Booboo got to hang out with all of his dad's college friends.  It is always so great to see the basketball guys; they really are some of the best people and I feel so lucky that my husband has such amazing friends.  Not only for him to rely on, but they are good to me too - and now to Grey!  We love them guys.

Uncle Jonny, Mike, Josip, Wahab, Daddy, Booboo, & Mark
While the boys drink and laugh about old times - the Basketball wives (VH1, we're waiting for our show offer) hang out and talk about upcoming wedding plans!  Aunt Ninny, Bojana (Josip's fiance) and I all chatted and laughed the night away.  Booboo was a real trooper and hung out all the way until after 10pm!  We crashed at a hotel with Uncle Jon & Ninny.  On Sunday, we met up with B's basketball coach and his family for brunch.  It was such a great weekend and I know Bud was recharged after hanging with his friends.

parenthood exposed: highchairs

So I'm thinking about starting a new thread in my blog about the down and dirty, usually untold side of parenthood.  All the stuff that I've been surprised about on a regular basis.  I don't know how many times I've said, usually to myself or the dog, "Why didn't anyone warn me about this?"  For fair warning:  all of my phood exposed will appear very random in topic but usually it comes about because something recently happened to me...which is always very random in motherhood.

Parenthood Exposed:  Highchairs

It is a blast searching for baby equipment while you're pregnant.  Let me rephrase that, its addicting looking for baby equipment while you're pregnant.  Baby stores do this incredible marketing ploy that brainwashes you into thinking you need to have coordinating accessories for baby in the nursery, in the kitchen, even in the car!  Everything matches with weird, little, smiling, cartoon forest animals.  So before baby arrives, you set everything up like a wild woman (even though your baby isn't going to use that high chair for at least 4 months) and blame it on the dog getting "used" to the baby stuff being around - when really you just want to stare at all the cute crap you bought. 

Fast forward to 10 months later and your perfect, bouncing child is now shoving food between the high chair cushion and the actual high chair. 

"Sure sweetheart, yea, just wipe it on the seat.  Awesome"
And to get the high chair cushion off - you need to unthread the safety buckles (5 of them), unhook these crazy little rubber band things that slip through the tiniest slat and hook around the back (4 of them) and unhook the plastic hooks from the side.  This should be done as often as it needs cleaned or if you're me - once a week...and sometimes thats a stretch.  So, the cushion obviously needs washed because there are blueberry stains and matted pieces of cheese and bananas all over it.  gross.  Then when you get the cushion off, you discover that there is a whole army of food that has been hiding UNDER it that apparently has been there for as long as you've last removed the cushion. 


"come & get it, Bullet!"

why didn't anyone warn me that high chairs are insanely hard to keep clean? 

2 week Thailand preparation list

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

have I told you yet...WE ARE GOING TO THAILAND!!  Like in March...for 2 weeks!!  hah.  It has been on our bucket list to visit Thailand and finally I just put my foot down and said, that's it, we're going this year.  Before the year even got started, our weekends started filling up with all kinds of fun things to do this year (weddings, wedding related parties, traditions, etc) so it turned out that the best time for us to go was going to be early in the year; which actually turns out to be a good time to visit Thailand anyway. 

Booboo will NOT be traveling with us and we are going to be missing him so bad, but we all could use this vacation.  Brandon and I could really use some alone time together away from everything.  Booboo could use some separation from his mummie since I'm basically the only one he sees 24/7 (and some separation from Bullet).  The grandparents could use some much needed Booboo face time.  So its a win-win-win situation.  Grey will be staying with one set of grandparents the first week, and then with the other set the next week.  By the time we get back- he isn't going to want to come back home; he'll be so rotten spoiled from his grandparents no doubt.

With the countdown beginning (only 16 days to go!!), we have quite the to do list.  Some are very specific, but other items on the list might be helpful ifyou are planning a trip soon.

To Do before Thailand
1. confirm house/Bullet sitter
2. alert credit cards and bank that we'll be out of the country for 2 weeks (this will ensure our credit cards will not be turned off for suspicious activity)
3. buy over-sized backpacks
4. finalize day trip confirmations
5. finalize hotel bookings
6. Copy itineraries and personal docs to give to grandparents
7. Read a recordable book for Booboo's valentine gift (so he can hear us read to him while we're away)
8. Get some traveler's cheques
9. double check electrical socket situation to ensure camera & phone chargers will work
10. learn more about turning our phone to global for 2 weeks
11. Learn some Thai
   a. buy Thai language flip book
   b. Memorize some key phrases (hello, thank you, where is the bathroom?, No thank you, Do you speak English?)
12. make a video for Booboo to post to the blog so he can see our faces while we're away
13. Check in with Ben (who's living in Thailand) to see if we can meet up
14. Find suggested packing list for March in Thailand
15. E-bank/schedule March bills
16. Ask Anna to feed cats & take care of mail while we're away
17. Get Bully's vaccinations up to date
18. Try to get Booboo to take his first steps before we leave
19. Send suggested Booboo grocery list to grandparents
20. Send Booboo's daily schedule to grandparents
21. Organize ipod playlists
22.  Pack for booboo
23. Pack for us
24. Finalize booboo drop off/pick up schedule
25. organize emergency information
   a. finalize last will & testament
   b. US Embassy in Thailand contact information
   c. purchase traveler's insurance
   d. pick up traveler's sickness prescription

youtube for kids: animal sounds

Since Booboo doesn't watch tv, I have started stressing over the fact that he doesn't get any opportunity to learn about animals and their sounds outside of Bullet's loud bark and our cats' weird purring. 

So I put my youtube searching skills to good use and went on the hunt for some educational videos for my booboo to learn about animals and their sounds.  Obviously, I found some weird stuff...but then I found some good stuff this BBC channel that had animal sounds of all sorts (check out the farm and jungle sound videos too)

Wild Animal Sounds:

ps. why is chipmunk the scariest one on there?!

Here's booboo's reaction to the Farm Animals Video
Daddy is coming home there at the end - which is why Bullet is acting like a rabid hyena.

a real life love story

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Once there was a girl who was young and had long blonde hair.  And there was a boy who was also young with spiky blonde hair.  They went to high school together and despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact) that he was two grades younger than the girl; the boy tried shamelessly to get her attention.  Everyday they pretended to ignore the magnets in their hearts, until finally the girl flirtaciously blew a kiss to the boy.  The girl watched with delight as the boy moved his eyes all around the air until he threw up his hand and grabbed the girls floating kiss and smacked it on his cheek.  With a grin on her face, the girl realized, there he is.  That one is mine.

Finally, two days before Christmas, in the falling snow outside of her parents house, lit by a lamppost, they had their first kiss.  Electricity passed between them.  She went into the house and flitted up the stairs humming herself to sleep with every love song she could think of.  They made up little holidays and shared each others' desserts.  They stole kisses behind the locker doors and held hands down the hallways.  She painted his jersey numbers on her cheeks and he wrote her love notes.

Then they grew up a little bit and went to colleges five hours apart.  And she made friends and he made friends and they introduced each other to their new friends.  And she learned Spanish and he played basketball and they fell asleep with their cellphones next to their heads.  And they watched Prisonbreak together over the phone.  She sent him care packages and he answered the phone in the middle of the night when she woke up from a nightmare.  And they said more times than they could ever count, I miss you.

And then because they were far apart and because they were young and foolish; they decided to see if there was anyone nearby that could make them laugh and smile too.  So the boy tried to be with other girls but no one was as funny or patient as his girl.  And the girl tried to be with other boys but no one made her laugh or was as understanding as her boy.  So they said, I'm sorry and you are forgiven and they said sometimes it is hard, but the good is so good that the hard isn't that hard.

And then the girl moved even farther away to a very big city to do what she loves and the boy was happy for her.  And he drove six hours to visit her with his muddy boots and camo shirts and she took him to museums and broadway shows and they ate brunch in parks.  And he wondered where the trees were and she pulled him along the sidewalk because he walked too country slow in the big city.  She sent him love letters in the mail and he talked to her while she was walking home alone at night.  And they said, I miss you, more than once a day.

And then on Christmas eve (six years after their first kiss), the boy got down on his knee and asked the girl to be his wife.  And she said yes and laughed. 

And then they moved in together in a very small apartment in a very small town.  And they picked a pizza place and got a joint checking account and tasted each others' cooking.  And they realized that she likes to cook quick and he likes to cook slow.  And she frowned when he threw his wet towels on the bed and he frowned when she left her teabags in the cups.  And he had good places to hunt and fish and she missed the city, but not as much as she had missed him.  And they said; I like living with you even though its hard sometimes.

And then she wore a white dress and he wore a camo vest and they said; for better or worse, I will love you. 
And then they added some animals to their family to see if they could take care of life together.  And so they got a cat, and the boy stayed up at night to bottlefeed her because she was such a young kitten.  And then they got another cat and the girl taught the two cats to play nice together.  And then they got a dog and no one could do anything about him; but that dog loved the boy and girl very much, so they decided to keep him around because he was awfully cute and he scared away pesky door-to-door salesmen. 

And then the boy said, I think I might like to have a baby around here and the girl said, thats just what I've been waiting to hear.  So they decided to grow a baby and they were lucky to get a very handsome, healthy, smart baby boy.  That baby looks just like the boy and has a personality that is just like the girl.  And they said, what a good mix of each of us.  And the girl sings silly songs to the baby and the boy plays silly boy-games with the baby and they all laugh at the same jokes.  And the boy still leaves wet towels on the bed and the girl still leaves her teabags in the cups and now the baby eats dog food and the dog chews up toilet paper and chases the cats.  And sometimes they say, our life is too much!   And the girl cries and the boy shakes his head and they hug for a long time and say, I am glad I am not alone in this crazy life.

And today, on Valentines day (their eleventh together), the girl (who used to have long blonde hair but now has long brown hair) makes the boy (who used to have spiky blonde hair but now has kind of shaved, no hair), pot roast in the slow cooker for dinner because thats how he likes it.  And he brings her home flowers and chocolate because it makes her smile.  And they make cards out of construction paper to each other decorating them and signing them like they are from their pets.  And they read a book about love to their little baby with funny voices and smile at each other over his little head.

Because after all this time they see that love does not have to be grand in gesture to be grand in feeling.

Lindor truffles, need a spokesbaby?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our little man was very lucky to get a valentines treat of Lindor truffles from one of his girlfriends, Samantha.  You've never seen a child love something so much.

Happy Valentines Day!

My little cupid

I have the sweetest valentine of all.

Filmstrip Red Valentine's Day Card
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.
In case anyone is curious - I love me some Shutterfly.  We create, order, & purchase all of our holiday cards through them.  They have a fantastic "we'll never delete your pictures even if you haven't ordered them for the past 7 years yet" policy...I have picture albums all the way back from my study abroad experience in Costa Rica in 2004 housed on Shutterfly.  They always have great deals happening and discount codes for free shipping.  We strongly reccommend Shutterfly for their customer service, adorable card designs, super easy photo book options, and quality prints.  I'm just sayin' :)

to boot - they have specials like "post your valentines card on your blog and we'll give you 10 free cards for next time"  Do I love them?  YES.

some of my favorite things: family flashcards

Friday, February 11, 2011

For one of Grey's Christmas gifts, I crafted up these family flashcards.  Since we don't get to see our family as often as we (or they) would like, I thought Grey would like a quick way to see them and practice remembering their faces.

It was really easy to get them together and since Christmas we added more flashcards to our deck (including Grey's little girlfriends Sophia & Sammie, and individual pictures of each of us). 

How to make Family Flashcards
1. Take (or find in your pictures folder) pictures of family & friends
2. Upload them to Shutterfly (or your choice of printing service)
3. Crop them appropriately
4. Order 4x6 prints
5. Buy self laminating sheets  (we got ours from Walmart & they are Scotch brand)
6. Write the name of the family member on the back of the photo (we use the name we call the person to Grey.  Like, my mom is "Abba", and we are Mum & Dad)
7. Insert the picture into the self laminating sheet and carefully close to seal
8. Tah Dah!  Baby can bend, chew, kiss, spill drinks/food, and hide them without damage to the photo!

Sometimes we're horrible and put each of our pictures and Bullet's in front of Grey and say, "who do you love most?" He picks up Bullet's flashcard everytime. Currently, his favorite flashcards are Bullet and "Baby" (ie. his girlfriends).